Once you chosen your new home and the landlord has offered you a tenancy they will give you a Tenancy Agreement.
Why do I need a Tenancy Agreement?
A Tenancy Agreement is a legal contract between you and the landlord. It explains the terms of the contract offers both you and the landlord protection. Your Tenancy Agreement should include information about:
- Landlords name, address and contact details
- Address of the property
- When the tenancy will start and end
- The type of tenancy
- The rent including when and how it should be paid
- How much deposit you have paid
- How your deposit has been protected
- Any special clauses you have agreed
- Your responsibilities for looking after the property
- How to let the landlord know about repairs or breakages
- Your landlords responsibilities for maintaining the property
- Your notice period
- Your landlords notice period
You should read your Tenancy Agreement carefully. Ask the landlord to explain anything you don’t understand before signing and agreeing the terms. All tenants must sign the agreement and you and your landlord should both keep a copy.
If your landlord does not give you a written Tenancy Agreement you will have statutory rights and obligations once you move into the property including:
- Length of time you can live in the property
- Proper notice if your landlord wants you to leave
- Repairs carried out
- Duty to pay rent
If you have a verbal agreement and are not sure about your legal rights and obligations you should seek legal advice or contact the Private Rented Service Newcastle.
What type of tenancy will I get?
Most private landlords will offer an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a fixed term of six or twelve months Landlords usually offer fixed term assured shorthold agreements of six or twelve months but you may be able to negotiate a longer period.
Another type of contract that you may be offered is an Assured Tenancy. This may give you more rights to remain in the property.
If your Tenancy Agreement is not for a fixed term or the fixed term has come to an end and not been renewed you will have a ‘rolling contract’ or Statutory Periodic Tenancy.
This type of tenancy is automatically renewed each rental period when the rent is paid. You have the same rights as if you had a fixed term contract but makes it more flexible for you and your landlord to end the tenancy with the correct notice period.
If you move into a property with other people you may need to sign a Joint Tenancy Agreement that makes you jointly responsible for all parts of the tenancy. This means if another tenant fails to pay part of rent the landlord can ask you for the full amount or if the landlord serves notice due to their anti-social behaviour you will be asked to leave as well.
You should think very carefully before signing a Joint Tenancy Agreement and be very sure that you know and trust the others signing the agreement.
If you are not sure what type of tenancy you have you should check your Tenancy Agreement or ask your landlord to let you know.
If you have any questions or problems about your Tenancy Agreement you should seek legal advice or contact Private Rented Service Newcastle for help.
Living with your landlord
If you share a property with your landlord you are likely to be a sub-tenant known as an excluded occupier. You are an excluded occupier if:
- You share living areas such as a kitchen or bathroom with your landlord;
- You have exclusive possession of the area you rent such as your bedroom; and
- Your landlord lives in the property throughout the tenancy
Excluded occupiers have very limited rights but the landlord cannot enter the area that you have exclusive access to without your permission.
If you don’t have exclusive access to any part of the property you are more likely to be a lodger than an excluded occupier. Lodgers have less rights than sub-tenants.
If you rent a room or share a property with your landlord you will be likely to have an Excluded Tenancy Agreement or a Licence Agreement. You should check your agreement carefully to see if it mentions the words licensor or licensee.
If you are offered these types of agreement or have an issue with this type of agreement you should call the Private Rented Service Newcastle on email@example.com for advice.